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OSHA Finds Falling Death ‘Preventable’

Monday, October 12, 2015

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A New York contractor faces $84,600 in proposed fines after an employee fell to his death while on a jobsite in April.

Vidal Sanchez, 51, fell while raking freshly poured concrete on the 6th floor edge of a building under construction in Brighton Beach, NY, according to the U.S. Department of Labor’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

The federal workplace safety authorities have hit his employer, J&M Metro General Contracting Corp., of Brooklyn, with one willful and five serious violations on Sept. 30 stemming from the incident, according to an announcement made Oct. 6.

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The case stems from the April 1 falling death of Vidal Sanchez, an employee of J&M Metro General Contracting Corp., of Brooklyn.

In a statement, Kay Gee, OSHA’s area director for Brooklyn, Manhattan and Queens, commented, “This employer knew fall protection was required, but did not supply lifesaving equipment that would have prevented this fall.”

The company does not have a website. J & M has 15 business days from receipt of its citations and proposed penalties to comply, meet with OSHA’s area director, or contest the findings before the independent Occupational Safety and Health Review Commission.

The Allegations

OSHA inspectors alleged that Sanchez and his co-workers were not provided required fall protection equipment, such as harnesses and lifelines, and the company had not trained its employees on how to minimize fall hazards.  

OSHA’s inspectors also alleged other fall-related hazards were present at the site, including missing stairway guardrails, a defective extension ladder, unprotected floor holes and construction debris in stairways and work areas.

'These are People'

“Too many construction workers die needlessly in falls each year. This includes nine such employees in New York City this year,” said Robert Kulick, OSHA’s regional administrator in New York.

“We remind employers that these are people, not numbers. Employers must use appropriate and effective required fall protection measures at all times.”

The company does not have a history of violations with OSHA, according to a review of the agency’s database.

Falls are the number one cause of death in the construction industry and fall protection violations remain at the top of OSHA's most frequently cited violations.


Tagged categories: Citations; Fall protection; Fatalities; General contractors; Health and safety; Safety

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